Can positive parenting work in my culture?
Travel around the world, or through the suburbs of any city, and you won’t just hear different music, see different clothing and taste different food: you’ll encounter different ideas about parenting and family life.
So if you’re part of a particular cultural group, and you’ve heard of Triple P, you might wonder whether positive parenting is going to fit in well with your existing approach and beliefs, or whether there’ll be some kind of clash. This is actually one of the reasons Triple P was developed in the first place: to be flexible and adaptable, while still providing families with support based on proven principles and methods.
When we look a little deeper, many ideas about parenting are universal. And doing a parenting support program is a healthy, normal, positive thing that everyone can be involved in. Because the shared journey of parenthood is much more powerful than the things which separate and divide us. Communities around the world want children to:
- Be happy, healthy and well-adjusted;
- Be cooperative and able to manage their emotions;
- Be a good communicator and get on well with others; and
- Do well at school and in life.
Families and communities also want their kids to:
- Have fewer behavioural problems;
- Have fewer mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety); and
- Be less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs in later life.
Around the world, Triple P has been shown to work helping to reduce conflict and stress and promote children’s resilience. And when parents have the skills and confidence to encourage learning and set healthy boundaries, kids do better. They’re less prone to anxiety, depression and aggression as children, teenagers and even as adults.
All this isn’t just theory. There are especially strong benefits for families dealing with disruptive behaviour problems. Regardless of cultural background, if parents have a child with significant problem behaviours, and nothing seems to be working, they need effective parenting advice, skills, and strategies that they can put into practice. And to do that successfully, they need to really think about how they feel about raising kids and parenting, and what values and virtues they believe are important.
That’s why when parents do Triple P, we build in moments of pausing and reflection. Parents are encouraged to look at what their goals are, what their parenting plan is, what they're actually preparing to do, and to reference that against their other beliefs and consider all that as part of their parenting.
Some things may be universal: treating people with respect, in a way that you would like to be treated; wanting to have a violence-free home; values that have to do with tolerance and acceptance; having empathy and being connected to the community.
Triple P providers are trained to get to know the families and communities they work with, and adapt the program to suit. So, for example, Triple P groups may be run in a community worship venue, outdoors, after school, or in another setting that makes people feel more comfortable. We’ve had Triple P groups with Jewish and Muslim moms sitting side by side and sharing their experiences. We have Indigenous Triple P resources in Australia and Canada, and ongoing research into how to best link Triple P with Maori family practices in New Zealand. We have Triple P groups that run in rural Panama with squawking chickens in the background. We have Triple P groups for dads in the function room at the local pub in the U.K., and combined with pizza night at community centres in Canada.
A QUESTION OF VALUES
Each parent makes their own call on how they want to raise their children, keeping in mind their broader goals and values and principles. As they learn the Triple P skills, they're learning the right combination of strategies to help them do two things at the same time:
- Teach their kids the kind of the social/emotional abilities they need to succeed in life
- Stay true to their own personal and family values.
So Triple P supports the value stance of the parent and vice versa.
In terms of the long-term game, ask yourself, what kind of person do you want your kids to be? Yes, kids are individuals; their genes are different and their opportunities are different - but at the same time, you play the biggest role in determining the kind of values your child will live by.